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Vols Monday Press Conference Cliff's Notes

On Mizzou, the quarterbacks, the secondary, and "the red team."

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

As usual, you can see the live blog of Butch Jones' press conference comments in the comments here. If you just want the highlights, keep reading:

  • On Alabama: they're a very good team. We didn't win first downs, which was problematic. We need to run more consistently. We put ourselves in some bad situations, some self-inflicted, some because we were playing a great team. The guys were disappointed Saturday with how they played, and we talked that evening about how to prevent that kind of anxiety going up against a great team like that.
  • On Missouri: they're a good team. They have great team speed and a disruptive defensive line. They're tough, uptempo, and have great team speed. Their secondary goes after the ball and they have great team speed. Their receivers are great in the air and will provide matchup problems, and they have great team speed. Their defense mixes up the formations and blitzes, the defensive line is explosive off the line, and they have great team speed. Have I mentioned they have great team speed? [Editor: The defensive line and team speed were consistent points of emphasis. Every time a question was asked about the opponents, Jones went back to one of those two talking points. He admitted that their WRs present a matchup problem, but it seems clear where his focus is.]
  • On Maty Mauk: he's a winner and a play-maker. We were in a recruiting battle for him at Cincinnati. The biggest concern is that he improvises well and makes something out of nothing.
  • On Josh Dobbs: Dobbs was poised, disciplined, showed command, got the right plays called. He's a 4.0 student, bright, competitive, and I'm pretty sure has a photographic memory. We didn't limit the playbook for him at all, although we'll certainly change it to play to his strengths, whatever those may be. He can run better than Justin Worley can.
  • On the rest of UT's quarterbacks: There will be a battle this week. We anticipate Worley being back, but he's day-to-day right now. Riley Ferguson will be part of the battle. Nathan Peterman has his cast off and may be ready to go as well. All of our quarterbacks have great mentality and put in the work every day, and the winner will be the one who gives us the best chance to win this week. I don't like two-quarterback systems where one QB is always worried that a mistake will get him yanked, but we'll do whatever it takes to win.
  • On the secondary: we anticipate Brian Randolph and Byron Moore being back [Ed.: huge sigh of relief.]. However, we're getting Jalen Reeves-Maybin some practice reps at safety, where he played in high school. [Ed.: he was switched to linebacker and probably projects as an OLB long-term.]
  • On "the red team": we have tremendous respect for Alabama, but right now, the name "Alabama" gives them 14 points for free. We're going to prepare our team the best way we can.
  • Etc.: receivers need to take the next step, but they're making strides, especially Marquez North and Jason Croom. Having Josh Smith back helps. No news on Mo Couch.